Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Imagine That... Marines That Kill The Enemy
A Marine isn't happy unless he's complaining

Excellent review by Lt. Col. Gordon Cucullu, US Army (Green Beret, Ret) of the upcoming HBO mini-series "Generation Kill". Like anything else coming out of Hollywood concerning the Armed Forces, it's best to view with a jaundiced eye.

Here's some of the review; Five years after Evan Wright was embedded with the Marines in the invasion of Iraq, his book, Generation Kill, has made the small screen. In the HBO opening episode, “Get Some,” we meet the Marines of First Marine Recon Battalion in Kuwait preparing for the attack. In this episode, Wright joins the Marines who react with distain to his Rolling Stone credentials, but respond with enthusiasm when they learn that he was the porn flick reviewer for Hustler magazine in a previous job.

Having very recently returned from an embed with soldiers in Iraq, and from more than two decades spent as enlisted and officer, I can say that the dialogue sounded like authentic soldier-speak to me. If you’re looking for erudite, philosophical discussions, try a coffee shop or college campus. Avoid the barracks. Conversely, some of the dialogue accurately reflected the fighting-man’s point of view about how naively civilians view war, and what war is really about. “We’re here to kill,” one of the characters says. And that is about as succinct a summary of the infantry mission as one is likely to find.

While accomplishing his goal to present war from a grunt’s-eye view, Wright missed much of what has to take place at the senior non-commissioned officer and officer levels in order to bring the entire force to the show. He repeats Marines’ lines about officer and NCO incompetence, leaving the uninitiated viewer to believe that such observations are factual. By doing so, Wright, perhaps unintentionally, creates the distinct impression that the enlisted Marines are victims of the system, simple troops trying to accomplish an impossible mission while being led by incompetents.

This series has value for the viewer. Wright successfully puts you into the heads of the grunts who are fighting the war. Unlike the failed scene in Heartbreak Ridge in which Marines get somber and introspective when told that they are going into Grenada to fight, the reality is better portrayed in Generation Kill. Whenever highly trained, motivated soldiers or Marines – such as the First Recon unit, are alerted for a fight they engage the prospect with enthusiasm. Wright captures this attitude precisely in this first episode.

The unfortunate lack of bigger-picture perspective ultimately mars the final product and is sure to confuse civilian viewers who may mentally turn the Marines into victims and the senior leaders into mindless robots. Neither is factually correct, and the grunts on the ground will be the first to express contempt at any attempt to victimize them.
For those who would be shocked by the attitude of these young Marines, I can tell you from personal experience... if you don't get yourself into the mind set that you are going to visit upon the enemy crushing firepower and extreme violence, then be prepared to be sent home in a Zip-Lock bag, and your wife be handed a folded up American flag.

And like I've said before, I'm no war hero by any stretch of the imagination. I was just another REMF doin' my best to serve God, Corps and Country. I'm just realistic enough to come to grips that while I was in The Corps, the end result of my labors were dead bad guys. Period.

2 Comments:

Blogger Subvet said...

Amen to all that.

12:32 PM  
Blogger Coffee Catholic said...

Like I said: our country is turning into a nation of fricken WIMPS. Why don't the whiney Liberals head on over to Iraq and see if THEY can do any better?? I can just see it... "Please Mr. Suicide Bomber, can't we just sit down and talk about our feeeeeelings? Maybe if you had some therapy you'd feel so much better about yourself and then you won't want to blow up!"

11:38 AM  

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